via THE DRIVE: From Amazon Alexa to in-car voice control, talking to inanimate objects is all the rage these days. Sygic believes voice control can help reduce distracted driving, so it’s introducing a new layer of voice-control features for vehicles equipped with Ford’s current-generation Sync 3 infotainment system.
Sygic’s “Driving Assistant” allows the driver to use voice commands to identify nearby points of interests, such as rest stops, restaurants, and hotels. It can also point out nearby traffic jams, Sygic said. It’s activated through the same steering-wheel button as other voice-related features, and responds to relatively straightforward commands like “Find a hotel,” or “How is the traffic ahead?”
The feature relies entirely on verbal communication. Once the system generates results, they are read back to the driver, instead of being displayed on the car’s touchscreen. Sygic believes this will reduce distraction by allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road more of the time.
Driving Assistant builds on Sygic’s existing navigation app, which also relies heavily on voice commands. Sygic claims it was the first navigation app to be integrated with Ford’s Sync AppLink, a platform that allows third-party apps to interface directly with Sync infotainment systems. Sygic also provides the navigation app to Skoda, Honda, Volkswagen, Citroën, Jaguar Land Rover, Peugeot, and Seat.
Sygic faces significant competition between Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allow drivers to import the familiar interfaces and features from their smartphones into a car’s infotainment system. The level of familiarity most people have with Apple or Google features is a difficult obstacle for third-party apps to overcome.